Want to Be a Temp San Jose Council Member? Here’s How

San Jose's City Council will consider appointing an interim council member for District 4 at next Tuesday's meeting, and a casting call is open to anyone who meets a few rudimentary qualifications. Critical thinking doesn't have to be one of them.

City Clerk Toni Taber tells San Jose Inside that anyone interested in being considered for the appointment must submit their name to her office by noon Friday. Requirements for applicants include: living in District 4, being a registered voter and having no prior felony convictions.

Sound like you? Come on down!

Section 410 of the City Charter explains how the process works:

"If, for any reason, a vacancy, as defined by Charter Section 409, occurs in the office of Mayor or Council member, the Council shall either fill the vacancy by appointment by a majority of its remaining members, or call an election for the purpose of filling such vacancy."

The vacancy left by Kansen Chu's move to the state Assembly has paved the way for nearly a dozen people with varying degrees of interest in the seat. Chu's already working in Sacramento, so several steps have been taken to keep his office in order.

Armando Gomez, budget director for Mayor Chuck Reed, will oversee the office in a temporary role, while several staffers have been tasked with handling constituent concerns.

In one of his final acts as a council member, Chu promoted his administrative assistant, Margaret Espinoza, to interim chief of staff. A 17-year city employee, Espinoza received a 10 percent pay bump from $66,664 to $73,330 annually.

Chu also attempted to hire two staffers from the office of District 5 Councilman Xavier Campos, who did not win a second term and will leave office at the end of this month. The one employee who has been approved to come over is Diego Barragan, who transferred to the D4 office effective Nov. 23. Barragan retained his title as a council policy aide and legislative director, and his pay remains set at $61,943 annually.

Austin Bruckner is a new hire who joined the D4 office Monday. The council assistant starts with an annual salary of $42,989.

All of these people could have a new boss as early as next week. For potential applicants interested in what the position pays, Chu received $88,833 in total cash compensation in 2013.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. So an assistant can receive a 10% pay raise , But Public Safety can’t get their 10% pay cut back? Yes , SJPD got theirs back ( given back in small percentages over 4 yrs) But SJFD still has not . this city is a running joke !

  2. “Critical thinking skills doesn’t have to be one of them.”

    That certainly had been proven true time and time again.

  3. “Critical thinking doesn’t have to be one of them…”

    You know Josh you really should think before you make comments like this. You’re blind partisanship so frequentry woven into your work meets your lack of CT standard.

  4. Making this an appointment rather than a special election, as in years past sounds, to me that Reed and Liccardo are hedge their bets by stacking the deck for votes….so to speak. Reeds claim that it will save money from not having to spend it on a special election is hogwash. reed could care less about how he spends taxpayer funds. I would not slap the voters/residents of D4 in the face and allow them to pick who they want to be represented by.

  5. Kansen Chu had very good critical thinking skills. He understood that Measure B would be an unmitigated disaster for the City. If the Council just chooses a Reed drone to follow his misguided direction, San Jose will become an even worse disaster. Critical thinking skills and a willingness to take a fresh look at the actual effects of Measure B would be a real asset in any new Council member.

    • Measure B aside, I always found Kansen to be the quietest, yet most thoughtful councilmember. I’ve seen him excuse himself from several votes over the years for “financial interests” for things as simple as Berryessa Road improvements.

  6. I want to apply like 10% of SJ residents. Crap I forgot about my felony conviction, but since most voters are letting me out of prison can I still apply?

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